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For a while, there, it was an absolute truism that among the single most frustrating activities one could indulge in was the pursuit of an appointment to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination.  Starting roughly at the beginning of February, I got myself registered with three different pharmacies, plus two hospital chains (University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic).  Add to that, I was checking regularly with at least two other drug stores which didn’t have automated registration or informational mechanisms on their websites.  Dutifully, every weekday morning, I would go through the rigmarole of pulling up their website, marching through the steps to qualify myself as a valid recipient, only to discover that no appointments were available, even when the software seemed to indicate that, on a given day, they SHOULD be.  To say that this got tiresome in a hurry is to understate badly.

At some point, I learned that the Cuyahoga County Department of Health had hooked up with Cleveland’s “2-1-1” phone service for registering with the DoH, as a first step toward that same goal of the proverbial shot in the arm.  I’m not sure it was any more than two days later that a message came across on my cellphone: a vaccination event was being organized for Sunday, 28 February, 2021 at The Word Church in Warrensville Heights and would I like to schedule an appointment?  Is this a multiple-choice question?!?  I jumped on their website to discover that not only were there openings available, but TONS of them!  I grabbed the first one up: 1:45 PM on the specified Sunday.  FINALLY!  Something I had taken action on really WORKED!

Sunday rolled around and with it, my gal’s usual excellent breakfast of eggs, bacon, English muffins, and OJ.  Add to that a fun time at one of Steve Shives’ once-a-month hangouts, which I left 15 minutes early to prep for my trip to get my jab.  The Word Church was hardly a 10-minute drive from home, and I arrived there at roughly 1 PM to discover that someone – likely SEVERAL someones – had fully prepared for the onslaught of humanity which was already assembling in their parking lot.  Walking in, it was clear that whoever was running this event had it ORGANIZED.  There were multiple lines for processing those coming in and these lines MOVED, not excessively fast or slow, but at a pace that let you know that things were happening.  I suspect it wasn’t 20 minutes before I sat down before a woman who took my pre-made-out registration papers and driver’s license, scoped everything out, and pronounced that I was ready to go.

Directing me to an exit from that room, I entered yet another serpentine which was moving with the same pace the previous queue had.  I was at the head of the line by 1:40 PM and by 1:45 … well, call it what you want: jabbed, stuck, shot, whatever.  I barely noticed the needle (hell, I’ve had pinpricks which were WAY more painful!), and the most awkward part of the whole business was that I had worn a long-sleeve shirt, and getting my left deltoid exposed took a bit.  I was told to set my cellphone timer to 15 minutes and after that time, if I had had no untoward effects from the vaccine, I was free to leave.  That time was spent in catching up on the Friendly Atheist website and reading my latest copy of The Absolute Sound.  Nine hundred ticks later, I was out of there and on my way home.

I have to say this: considering the venue, the entire event was handled utterly professionally.  There wasn’t so much as one instance of a “God bless” or ANYTHING like that for the entire hour I was there.  The people working the site, whether dealing with lines or checking registration papers or directing people to vaccination stations played it completely straight, and I made a point of telling every volunteer (I presume they were, anyway) how well they were handling what could otherwise have been an unmodified mess.  On top of that, the website printed on the back of my vaccination card allowed me to schedule my second shot, now set for that same location, four weeks from last Saturday.

It just might be that there IS a light at the end of the end of the tunnel, and no, it’s NOT an oncoming train!

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Comment was by Stephen Brodie on March 21, 2021 at 12:48am

I'm very suspicious of the whole mess, I notice that some leading politicians have set themselves against the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine almost immediately after the row about the contract with OAZ. Odd that wasn't it. Many people in the UK are demanding an enquiry about the Gov handling of the crisis. I think there should be a similar enquiry in Europe.

Comment was by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on March 20, 2021 at 11:38pm

I read that they've figured out what was going wrong with the blood clot side effect, and there are existing medications that will immediately treat it. Sorry I can't find the article now.

Comment was by Chris B on March 20, 2021 at 1:31am

Still waiting here, while authorities are talking about Astra Zenica and the risk of thrombosis.

Comment was by Joan Denoo on March 19, 2021 at 2:35pm

Davy, it appears your good sense stays with you in frustrating times!

It was eight years ago today that I heard the diagnosis, "cancer!" I wanted and got the full treatment to get rid of those cruel cancer cells, including surgery, chemo, and radiation. I'm fine and reasonably healthy, although I have no interest in going to dances or vacuuming my carpet. 

I have a grow light in my bedroom overcrowded with seedlings. They will be going out to the greenhouse after this next cold snap. I have been getting the toasty warm greenhouse ready for all the vegetable and flower starts we plan to plant around the property. That keeps me happy. We live at 8°N, have very cold days and nights through the winter months. Another bad storm arrived last night leaving behind a partly cloudy day with the sun shining through the haze. 

Comment was by Joan Denoo on March 19, 2021 at 2:20pm

Beautifully and powerfully written, as usual, Loren!

I had my shot last week and I felt absolutely nothing! It was the sharpest needle I've ever had. 

Yesterday, I felt a swelling in that arm, it was a red spot about two inches wide. It hurt when I touched it! I thought it was too low to be the shot and I was right ... it was one of those nasty insect bites that hurt like the dickens, last for a long time, eventually becoming an itch before fading into an ugly scar. I have dozens of them on my legs. 

I never did feel pain or itching at the shot site, no swelling, and no redness.

The Newport health center was well organized, there were no lines, and the staff/volunteers smiled the friendly way that small-town people have of greeting strangers. Getting the infamous shot was A Non-event. 

Comment was by Davy on March 15, 2021 at 8:46am

Ukraine began the vaccinations in early February but I have not heard anything nor has the missus mentioned anything, She has to have covid tests done before she receives her chemo-therapy for cancer.

Around our area it is quiet on that front but in the west in and  around Lviv it has up-ticked of late.

So when I get mine I don't know. I'll just continue doing what I am doing and when I do go out and about I avoid people like the plague and when unavoidable then I wear a mask.

Comment was by Stephen Brodie on March 13, 2021 at 11:28pm

Congratulations Ruth on getting your vaccine jab. I had my first shot on the 17th of February and I'm waiting for the call from my Doc to tell me when I'm to have the second. Here in the UK, the rollout has been impressive because the politicians have kept their noses out of the process and the NHS has done a great job in giving the vaccine to those of age and underlying health issues plus all health care workers.

Tell me Ruth if you have to log in to sites to get an appointment what happens to those poor people who haven't got access to a computer. And is there no process of giving the jab to those in need first?  

Comment was by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on March 13, 2021 at 8:40pm

Interesting. We also signed up for numerous local sites. Our county came through first. WE've had our first Pfizer shot and are scheduled to get the second on the 21st. My only problem was the software. You know how webpages can make you fill out numerous fields, and then reject the data because of some rule they didn't bother to mention beforehand. This page automatically dropped the data from several fields when you went back to make a correction. I had to do it three times. My husband signed up for a 3:30 appointment, same as I, but when he went back to make a correction he failed to notice that the time zone had reverted back to Pacific time. Who writes software for PA that defaults to Pacific time? So his appointment was confirmed for 3:30 and then when we arrived it had changed to 6:30.

Comment was by Stephen Brodie on March 4, 2021 at 9:14pm

Congratulations and well done Idaho Spud

Comment was by Idaho Spud on March 4, 2021 at 5:15pm

Thanks, Loren.

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